Keynote speech by Vice Minister Wei Jianguo at the International Forum on Rejuvenating Trade through Science and Technology and IPR Protection
(October 12, 2005, Shenzhen)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to gather together with you in the beautiful city of Shenzhen. First of all, I would like to, on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce of China, extend congratulations on the convening of this forum. I would like to take this opportunity to exchange views with you on the topic of "intellectual property and independent innovation".
Since reform and opening up, China's economy has been developing rapidly with tremendous achievements in foreign trade. In 2004, the total import and export volume of China exceeded US$ 1.1 trillion. The country's trade volume jumped to the third in the world, bringing its foreign trade up to a new level. Speaking of the rate of development, the world trade has increased by 6.4 times from 1978 to 2004 with an average annual growth rate of 6.6%; while China's trade has increased by 56 folds with an average annual growth rate of 16.8%. Since China's WTO accession three years ago, its import and export scale has doubled.
While achieving quantitative growth, we have also improved substantively the quality of foreign trade. Since the implementation of the strategy of rejuvenating trade through science and technology in 1999, the trade in high-tech products has been developing rapidly, with the import and export volume registering an average annual growth rate of 37%. The share of export of high-tech products in the total foreign trade has climbed to 28%, more than doubling that of 1998. This year, the total import and export of high-tech products is expected to reach US$ 400 billion. A number of well-known brands and enterprises with proprietary intellectual property such as Huawei, Haier and Changhong have emerged quickly, and the export scale and scope of high-tech products is widening with every year. The constant development of China's foreign trade in high-tech area has not only promoted development in the high-tech sector, accelerated industrial restructuring and technological progress, but also opened an enormous new market to the rest of the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The upbeat situation of China's economy and foreign trade is hard won, and is inseparable from the respect and attention paid by the Chinese government to IPR protection. With the development of science and technology, the rise of knowledge-based economy, and the acceleration of economic globalization, the importance of intellectual property has been enhanced historically. Through efforts over the last two decades, intellectual property has gained overall development in China, laid a solid foundation and constituted a strong guarantee for encouraging independent innovation, strengthening independent research and development capacity, and boosting international competitiveness.
First, the notably improved legal framework on IPR promotes technological advancement and innovation. Since the promulgation of the new Patent Law and supporting laws and regulations, there has been a sustained increase in patent applications and approvals. Positive changes have taken place in patent application structure, and technological innovation activities become increasingly dynamic. In 2004, we accepted 349,000 patent applications, an increase of 66.5% compared with 2001. Among that we granted 192,000 patents, increasing by 63.5% on a year-on-year basis. Since 1995, the number of invention patents among domestic patent applications has shown a big rise, with an average annual growth rate of 33%. In recent years, the number of invention patent applications from enterprises, the main player of technological innovation, has accounted for more than 60% of the total domestic service invention applications in the same period of time.
Second, the active IPR law enforcement and protection has created a favorable environment for technological introduction and innovation. Attaching great importance to IPR law enforcement and protection, the Chinese government established a national working group on IPR protection headed by Vice Premier Wu Yi and launched a special campaign of IPR protection. The Chinese government carefully organized a series of special law enforcement actions. By the end of 2004, patent authorities throughout the country had dealt with 12,058 cases of patent violation and patent disputes, among which 10,411 cases or 86.3% were closed. The strict IPR law enforcement and protection ameliorates China's investment and foreign trade environment, facilitates foreign enterprises in transferring technology to and establishing R&D centers in China, and lays a solid foundation for independent corporate innovation.
Third, the fine combination of foreign trade and intellectual property regime has provided policy assurances for enterprises to excel in international competition. The chapter of "IPR Protection in Relation to Foreign Trade" in the new "Foreign Trade Law" targets the violation of IPR by imported products, abuse of IPR and the monitoring of Chinese enterprises in terms of their IPR protection in foreign countries. In particular, it establishes a regime that guarantees adequate and effective IPR protection on Chinese goods, technologies and services by other countries and regions through trade instruments. After joining the joint taskforce on rejuvenating trade through science and technology, SIPO has been promoting the project of "rejuvenating trade through intellectual property" together with MOFCOM, which indicates that the Chinese government has realized the importance of intellectual property in foreign trade. Guided by government policy, some enterprises have found a foothold in the international market based on the creation, implementation and protection of proprietary intellectual property, and independent innovation. CTA and other products developed and produced by Ruifeng Chemical Co. Ltd. in Xinxiang, Henan Province circumvented technical barriers of multinational corporations by obtaining national invention patents, and successfully entered the international market. The Vimicro VXP V chip developed and designed by Vimicro made 7 core technological breakthroughs and applied for over 200 patents in China and other countries. The chip took the lead in setting foot in the international market at a large scale, and has been adopted by domestic and foreign enterprises including Samsung, Philips and Lenovo. The global sales volume of this product has exceeded 10 million pieces, taking up 40% share in the international market.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In today's world, the reform and development of IPR system has entered an unprecedentedly dynamic stage. Intellectual property has played an increasingly prominent role in world economy, science and technology and trade, as well as a vital factor behind a nation's economic growth. To strengthen IPR protection has become a natural choice for countries to develop science and technology and their economies, and to enhance national strength. Japan has explicitly put forward the basic state policy of "building the country through intellectual property" replacing the previous one of "building the country through science and technology". The U.S. takes intellectual property as a fundamental national strategic resource. It identifies IPR protection as an important tool for competition, and deepening IPR management, especially patent management, as a significant instrument to guide technological innovation, economic restructuring and optimization and upgrading of industrial technological structure. In this global context, the coverage of IPR protection is widening, the level of protection is becoming higher, and competition centering on IPR is getting fiercer and fiercer. Intellectual property has become a bridge linking technology, economy and trade.
The coming 15 years is a crucial period for China to take the course of new industrialization and realize the objective of building a well-off society in an all-round way, and also a crucial period for China to transform itself from a big trading country to a strong trading power. The fundamental transformation of the developmental mode of foreign trade and improvement of the quality and effect of foreign trade demands attention to the driving role of proprietary IPR and brands. Through a strengthened IPR system, the innovation capability and core competitiveness of enterprises will be enhanced. MOFCOM attaches great importance to the driving role played by IPR in independent innovation. Minister Bo Xilai recently pointed out, "Without a sound IPR protection system, it will be impossible for China to release its independent innovation capability. That has a bearing not only on China's image but also on our development and our interests." MOFCOM and SIPO will engage themselves together in the following five aspects:
First, we will continue to improve the legal framework concerning IPR. We will formulate and promulgate supporting laws and regulations governing foreign trade related IPR administration based on the new Foreign Trade Law, further consolidate the status of IPR system in foreign trade, concretely prevent IPR violation, inspire the enthusiasm of enterprises for independent innovation and enable them to develop and protect themselves through IPR.
Second, we will formulate and materialize the policy measure of "rejuvenating trade through intellectual property". MOFCOM will work out jointly with SIPO "Opinions on Implementing the Project of Rejuvenating Trade through Intellectual Property during the Eleventh Five-year Period". With an improved policy environment, we will promote the coordinated development among IPR, science and technology, economy and trade, encourage and guide enterprises to use IPR so as to reach the goal of enhancing the core competitiveness of enterprises and market share in the global context.
Third, we will actively participate in the formulation of the national intellectual property strategy. One of the objectives of national intellectual property strategy is to uplift substantially enterprises' innovation ability and the ability to participate in international competition by using IPR, and to form a number of technologies and big corporate groups with strong core competitiveness and proprietary IPR. We must seize the opportunity of formulating national strategy on IPR, strengthen study on IPR issues at such a deep level that it can shape foreign trade development, realize the organic integration between the strategy of rejuvenating trade through science and technology and the national strategy on IPR, and promote further development of the former strategy through intellectual property.
Fourth, we will intensify law enforcement and protection of intellectual property. IPR protection will be incorporated into the overall arrangement of commercial work. We will work together with relevant departments to take concrete measures to improve law enforcement methods, adjust and consolidate law enforcement team, reinforce law enforcement, enhance coordination of law enforcement and severely crack down on IPR violating activities. We will take the monitoring and tackling of major cases as breakthroughs to intensify the special campaign of IPR protection. We will continue the efforts in publicity and education, and foster a favorable social atmosphere for IPR protection through the "IPR Protection Week" and "Display of IPR Protection Achievements" so as to provide a strong guarantee for independent innovation of enterprises.
Fifth, we will actively engage in international communication and cooperation concerning IPR. We will continue our participation in IP-related activities in various international organizations such as the WTO, the WIPO and APEC, and strengthen two-way communication and cooperation. On the basis of "Sino-EU Dialogue Mechanism on IPR", "Sino-US Working Group on IPR", and "bilateral and trilateral dialogue and cooperation mechanism on IPR among China, Japan and Korea", we will launch communication and cooperation on IPR protection in various forms with countries and regions including Hong Kong, Macao, Brazil, Mexico, and ASEAN members. In that way, mutual communication and understanding will be enhanced, and a sound international market environment will be created for independent innovation of enterprises.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The first decade of this century is a period of strategic opportunities for China to follow the course of new industrialization, build a well-off society in an all-round way and expedite the modernization drive. We should grip the opportunities, utilize and protect IPR, foster and promote capacity building among enterprises for independent innovation, and accelerate the creation and cultivation of proprietary IPR and own brands in China's high-tech sector. We will show the whole world that China not only boasts textile and light industry products with low price and good quality, but also high-tech products and brands with proprietary IPR that represent the talent and wisdom of the Chinese nation. We are ready to provide even more, better and more professional services to enterprises. Let's join hands in shaping the development of China's high-tech industry and putting China's high-tech products in a strong footing in the world.
Finally, I wish the International Forum on Rejuvenating Trade through Science and Technology and IPR Protection a complete success!